Monday, May 2, 2016

DIY Toy Stethoscope (and a giveaway of the book Teddy Bear Doctor!)


Be sure to scroll down to the end of the post to find out how to enter to win a copy of the book Teddy Bear Doctor. Trust me. You are going to want a copy of this fun and adorable book!

DIY Toy Stethoscope Doc McStuffins Doctor Felt veterinarian


One of the things I love most about being a mom is watching my kids play. I love to see them dress up and watch where their imaginations take them. Pretend play is such a magical and important part of childhood and learning.

Last month I hosted my four-year-olds preschool co-op group. We learned all about the letter V.  After talking about what words start with V and having vegetables for a snack the fun really started.  Each child was given a badge (I printed off these adorable ones from Kids Activities Blog) and a stethoscope and became a veterinarian for the morning.  We talked about what a veterinarian is and what a veterinarian does (I thought this clip from Sesame Street was perfect).  I set up part of the house to be a make-believe veterinarian clinic. We had a waiting room with chairs and an exam room stocked with bandages and medical instruments to take care of hurt animals.  We sorted all the sick animals (my children all donated their stuffed animals for the morning for us to use) and graphed them to see how many we had of each (to squeeze some math learning in there) and then the kids got to take turns caring for the animals.  I printed out these dramatic play veterinarian clinic printables for each little veterinarian to use.  They took temperatures, listened to heart beats, pulled splinters, gave shots, and wrapped up sore paws.

My group of four year olds had so much fun playing animal doctor!



Listening to a heart beat . . .



Filling out paper work . . .



This little puppy must have had a really sore paw.  I think he got every bandage in the room wrapped around it!



The kids loved having their own name badge and stethoscope to play with and take home. They were so simple to put together too. I picked up a pack of six headbands from the dollar store, cut 12 circles from felt and six hearts, and found some ribbon scraps from my stash.
DIY Toy Stethoscope


I sandwiched the ribbon between two felt circles, glued them all together along with heart on the top circle.


The top of the ribbon got hot glued around the center of the headband. I also wrapped and glued the ends of the the headband with some felt so little ears were safe from getting poked.  I noticed that the kids preferred to keep the stethoscope around their neck though--they didn't really put it up to their ears.


All done and ready to play!
DIY Toy Stethoscope


Just perfect for caring for any stuffed animal friend.
DIY Toy Stethoscope


Here's the whole batch. These could make a fun party favor for a Doc McStuffins party or something similar.
DIY Toy Stethoscope, Doc McStuffins, Veterinarian, Felt, Party Favor, Doctor


And one more bit of important information . . .

I wanted to tell you about this absolutely adorable book I found at my library while searching for children's books about veterinarians. I really wish I had found it before I had all my preschool preparations done. It's called Teddy Bear Doctor.
DIY Toy Stethoscope Teddy Bear Doctor


I was blown away with how clever and thought out this book was. It is packed full of creative ideas that will help your child create their own make-believe vet practice. The book starts out with projects for your child to make a "pet vet kit". It teaches them how to make a thermometer, syringe, stethoscope, and lab coat using everyday household items. The book then walks them through creating a waiting room, exam room, and recovery room. And my most favorite part of the book is found in the back. There you will find stickers and removable pages to aid your child in creating all the projects in the book. There are also patient check-in forms, appointment cards, exam checklists, and prescription forms. This book has it all! And it is all oh-so-cute!

Teddy Bear Doctor

Teddy Bear Doctor

A copy of Teddy Bear Doctor paired with a new plush toy would make such a fun gift! It's only $4.79 on Amazon right now. For that price you might as well get two copies . . . or three!

So how can you enter to win? Simply leave a comment here on the blog or on our Facebook page telling us who you would love to share this book with.
Giveaway ends May 8, 2016

Don't want to wait to win? Pick up a copy here.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Healthy Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Pie Bars


I'm always on the search for healthy desserts and nutrient dense snacks that will fill my kids hungry tummies right up.  This recipe fits the bill for both.  These pumpkin bars by themselves make a great snack but by adding a few chocolate chips to the recipe I've tricked my kids into thinking they're now dessert.  Personally my favorite way to eat them is by ditching the chocolate chips and sprinkling a few chopped pecans on instead. Sometimes I will even sprinkle three-fourths of the pan with chocolate chips and the other quarter with pecans so everyone is happy.

Not only are these pumpkin bars easy to whip together and free of refined sugar but they taste amazing!  They are so moist and light they practically melt in your mouth.  There's no reason to wait until fall to make these dreamy bars.  They are the perfect treat any time of year. 


Healthy Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Pie Bars (GAPS, Paleo, Egg-free, Grain-free


Pumpkin Pie Bars


Ingredients:

3/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 well-ripened banana (should have lots of brown spots)
1/4 cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Real Salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips or pecans (optional)


Get the rest of the recipe over at Nourishing Bites.



Monday, April 4, 2016

Budsies - Custom Plush Creations (and a discount for you!)


It took us long enough but we're finally on Instagram!  Be sure to follow along @servingpinklemonade to sneak a peek at what we've been up to.

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Budsies - Custom Plush Toys. Have your child's artwork turned into a real live soft cuddly toy.

My two oldest children are exceptional artists.  They love to draw and have multiple sketch books filled with their creations!  Last summer I spotted an art contest at a store near us.  The winners of the contest would get their drawings turned into plush toys and would then be sold at the store.  How amazing would that be?  I'm sure a dream come true for any child.  I told my kids about the contest and they were super excited to enter.  They went right to work and within the next hour they had their entries complete.  They both came up with fun and clever ideas and I felt they both had a fair chance of winning.  My seven year old really wanted to win. He brought up the contest over the next several months weekly, if not daily.  His drawing was super cute, but knowing that there were thousands of entries I knew his chances of wining were slim.  After months of waiting, the winners were finally announced.  Even though my son knew the realty of winning was small I could see that he was awfully disappointed that he didn't win.

(Isn't this little guy just adorable? Who wouldn't want to hold and cuddle him?)


I started thinking that even though he didn't win the contest it would still be fun to turn his drawing into a plush toy on our own.  Doing it myself wasn't something I felt up to so I started searching for a company that would do it for me.  After looking at a few option I decided to go with Budsies.

I was really impressed with the whole process.  Creating the plush toy took several weeks but I loved how Budsies sent me emails keeping me updated on the progress as the toy was created.  First the designers interpreted the design, then sketched and cut the fabric, next was fluff and sew, then a double quality check, and last it was shipped to our front door.

My sons art-turned-plush toy arrived in this adorable box.



I could hardly wait to open the box and take a peek.  I loved how the first thing I saw when I opened the box was a copy of my sons original drawing and then underneath was his new plush toy!






I love how it turned out!  I think the design team at Busdies did a wonderful job. The craftsmanship is high quality and the fabric is so soft and cuddly.  I can hardly wait to gift it to my son for his birthday.  I can't wait to see the look on his face.  I just know he is going to be so surprised and love his new cuddly plush toy.



Can you hardly wait to turn one of your child's memorable pieces of art into their own custom cuddly plush toy?  I know it will be a gift they treasure!

The nice folks at Budsies are offering Serving Pink Lemonade readers 10% off their order.  Go HERE to get your discount!


Budsies - Custom Plush Toys



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt


My kids love scavenger hunts--most likely because they usually get a treat at the end of them.  A few weeks ago when I was at the library with my four year old we picked up this cute book called Max and Ruby's Treasure Hunt.  I loved how the grandma in the story used nursery rhymes for the treasure hunt clues.  The book had cute little lift the flap envelopes on each page and my four year old had so much fun trying to figure out the clues along with Max and Ruby.

I thought it was such a fun idea that I decided to recreate something similar for a fun St. Patrick's Day surprise for my kids. I created eight clues using nursery rhymes and placed them around the house.

Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt


When the kids arrived home from school they were greeted with this sign.  
Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt/ St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt
The first clue was inside. The clue read:
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the ________.


By the candlestick they found their second clue.  It read:
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to see the queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her ________.


By a chair was clue number three. It read:
There was an old women who lived in a ________.
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.


By the shoe tray was clue number four. It said:
Hickory, dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the ________.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down.
Hickory, dickory dock.


By the clock was clue number five. It read:
Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle.
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the ________.


By the spoons was clue number six. It said:
Little boy blue, come blow your ________!
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.


Clue number seven was in the car by the horn. It said:
Miss Marry Mack, Mack, Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
Had silver ________, ________, ________,
All down her back, back, back.


 Clue number eight was by my sewing machine near the button box. The clue said:
Old Mother Hubbard, went to her ________,
To fetch her poor dog a bone.
When she got there the ________ was bare,
And so her poor dog had none.


And at last in they headed to the cupboard! This was end of the treasure hunt and where they found their treat--little pots filled with the best treasure ever, chocolate!

We usually don't do much to celebrate St. Patrick's day at our house but if I have the time to throw something together I do think it's a fun way to make childhood magical.  The kids had a blast tracking down the clues and the joy on their face made it very much worth my time putting it together. These kiddos of mine won't be little forever. We also had our traditional rainbow fruit salad for lunch.  Healthy and delicious!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pirate Party Treasure Hunt




Turning four years old is a pretty big deal at our house. It means you get to have your first birthday party with friends.  My son has been looking forward to his first party for a long time and was excited it finally came.  His party was actually a few months ago but I'm just getting around to sharing it.

My recently turned four year old loves everything!  Big construction trucks, police men, firemen, knights, super heroes, you name it--so when coming up with a theme for his party I knew he could easily change his mind from one day to the next.  For a while a pirate themed birthday party had been brewing in my head--because what's more fun than a treasure hunt?  Luckily I was able to convince my four year old that was what he wanted to do--and he loved the idea!  Even months later he still takes about his pirate party.




Decorations:

I'm not huge on decorating for parties.  I usually do a lot of balloons and maybe a banner or two.  When the kids are this young I think they could care less about fancy decorations and I don't care to spend my time and effort on them.

Walking to the front door I drew a path to follow and "X marks the spot" with chalk.  Simple but fun.


I'm finding that my chalkboard easel from IKEA makes an easy detail for parties.  I've used it for a couple of parties now and decorated it to fit with the theme.


I wish I had taken more pictures of the decorations but balloons are my favorite way to decorate lately.  They are inexpensive, fill the space well, and what says party more than balloons?  I love to put balloons on sticks like this and put them in dollar store vases to create a balloon "bouquet".  It's a great way to add balloons all over the place and I love that my sticks can be used over and over again.


When the kids arrived they got to decorate their "pirate loot bag".  The bags were used throughout the party to hold the prizes they received at each station.  I had lots of pirate stickers as well as a sticker with their name on it (that I printed off onto labels) so we could keep track of who's bag was who's.  These bags also doubled as their goody bags that they got to take home at the end of the day.


After that the kids gathered round to begin the treasure hunt.


Each stop on the map had an activity or game and when complete they got a treasure/small toy to add to their loot bag.  The hunt ended with a treasure chest pinata.


I hung pictures on the wall at the location of each game that coordinated with the pictures on the map. This way the kids knew what to be on the lookout for and could find our next activity.


For the first game we headed upstairs to walk the plank.  The balloons represented water and the kids had to walk from one end of the board to the other without getting "wet" or touching a balloon.  When they made it to the other side they got a toy for their loot bag.


We then headed back downstairs to find that our ship was under attack!  Cannon balls were flying everywhere.  Each child had to pop their black balloon to save the ship.  Once popped they got another toy for their loot bag.


We then headed for the kitchen table and did a pirate craft.  When planning the party I came across a lot of cute pirate crafts but knew things could get crazy fast with a whole boat load of four year olds.  I decided to keep things ultra simple on my part and and bought a dozen of these pirate sticker scenes for the kids to decorate.  The sticker scenes whet in their loot bag when they were done.


After that we followed the map to story time.  I love reading stories to this age group.  They love stories!  How I Became a Pirate by David Shannon was a hit.  When the story was done they got some more loot for their bag.


We then headed into a dark cave (or the basement) where we were greeted by some vicious crocodiles blocking our course to the treasure. 


The kids used these knobby balls to blast them out of the way.  Once our path was clear of crocodiles the kids got to add one of the balls to their loot bags.  Then it was on to the treasure!


Pinatas are the best kind of treasure, right?  Instead of their treasure chest being filled with gold nuggets there were fruit nuggets for everyone.  I thought the fruit nugget were fitting and the kids seemed to like them.


With the treasure hunt being done we headed back upstairs to open presents and have a treat.  Since my son isn't eating wheat or dairy right now I decided to make rice crispy treats instead of the traditional cake and ice cream.  I shaped the rice crispy treats like treasure chests and added some details by piping on chocolate.  The kids thought they were great.


And here's the happy birthday boy!


Yo-ho-ho!  It was a fun adventure filled day!